Introducing, Matiatia: The Port of Waiheke Island.
An interview with Mudbrick Vineyard Winemaker, Patrick Newton.
This year, we are excited to release something that’s been a long time coming. Our very first vintage of Matiatia, our Mudbrick fortified wine (similar to a Port but made here in Aotearoa – New Zealand). We caught up with Patrick to see how this exciting new drop came to life!
What inspired you to create a port?
It’s always been something I have wanted to try. We distilled some brandy in my early days at Mudbrick and left it to age in barrel. One day we were tasting through the red wine and pulled the brandy barrels out to have a look. To our surprise it was fantastic and straight away we though it would look great in a port!
Which varietals / vintages are included?
The Matiatia is a vintage port. We only make it in the good years where quality is high. This particular Matiatia is from the 2019 vintage. It was made out of 100% Petit Verdot grapes.
What are the differences in making wine to making fortified wine?
Making a fortified wines starts the same way a red wine does with the fruit being hand harvested, crushed and de-stemmed into opentop fermenter and is gently hand plunged twice daily. At around half way through its natural fermentation, you add Brandy to increase the alcohol to 20%. This kills all the yeast and stops the fermentation. We then leave the fermenter for 24 hours then press it out to barrel for ageing. We leave the Matiatia in barrel for two years before pulling it out to bottle. It is then aged in bottle for a minimum of 1 year before it is release for sale.
Did you encounter any challenges during the process?
2019 was a great vintage so it wasn’t a difficult decision in terms of when to harvest. The tricky part when making the Matiatia is when to fortify the wine by adding Brandy. This stops the fermentation, and you are left with a large amount of residual sugar in the wine. If you fortify the wine too early, it is overly sweet. If you fortify it too late, then the wine is too dry and lacks generosity.
Matiatia was actually the idea of Nick Jones (co-owner of Mudbrick). We cant call it Port as the Portuguese have trademarked the name (the same as Champagne in France). Nick thought, why not name the fortified wine after Waiheke’s own port; Matiatia
Now that you’ve had a taste of making port, will this be a permanent fixture for Mudbrick?
We have followed the 2019 Matiatia with a 2021 and a 2022. I have also held a barrel of the 2019 Matiatia back in the winery instead of bottling it, I will do the same for all the vintages in the future. At some point in time (many years after I have retired), Mudbrick will release an extremely old tawney port from a blend of these barrels.
This is a first for us and a very exciting release for the island, we are hoping to have every Matiatia boxed up and ready for release in November!